Stormont Ministers are set to advise against non-essential travel between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom after the vote on a total ban.
The ministers in Northern Ireland also advise people not to travel to the Republic of Ireland.
The Press Agency understands that Sinn Fein’s proposal for a temporary travel ban between Northern Ireland and Great Britain was defeated during a hypothetical emergency executive meeting late at night.
The meeting took place shortly after Health Minister Robin Swan distributed a response paper to the emergence of the COVID-19 variant, recommending directives against all but essential travel be issued instead of initiating an immediate ban.
It is understood that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Alliance opposed the Sinn Fein proposal while the Social Democratic Party and Labor Party (SDLP) supported it.
Refusing to do so, the ministers then approved Mr. Swan’s recommendations without requiring a formal vote.
The paper presented by the Minister of Health also called for more preparatory work to examine the legal issues related to the introduction of any travel ban.
Proposals are drawn up after consulting the Attorney General of Northern Ireland on the issue of travel restrictions.
After the meeting, Mr Swann tweeted: “I am delighted that Exec has agreed to my paper tonight, including an immediate directive against all flights except for essential flights between NI and GB / RoI, with all new arrivals here asking for 10 days self-isolation.
“More work is needed on the legal travel ban option, both legally and logistically – vital supplies to NI and essential travel must be protected.”
Prior to the executive meeting, Sinn Fein Finance Minister Connor Murphy wrote to Mr. Swan expressing his “dismay and surprise” that he had not acted immediately to instigate the travel ban between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
I am delighted that Exec has approved tonight’s paper, including an immediate directive against all but essential flights between NI and GB / RoI, with all new arrivals here requiring a 10-day self-isolation. 1/2
– Robin Swann MLA: #StopCovidNI (@RobinSwannMoH) December 22, 2020
Murphy called on Mr. Swan to reconsider the position he had identified in his research paper.
Ministers are discussing the possibility of amending the Public Health Act 1967 to introduce short-term travel restrictions.
While Sinn Fein supports the move, the DUP insists that domestic travel in the UK is already banned from Tier 4 regions in England, so there is no need for additional Stormont legislation to enforce this.
Earlier on Monday, First Secretary of the Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster warned of grave repercussions if the travel ban was imposed.
Foster said the new strain of coronavirus has already arrived and warned that supply chains could be jeopardized by travel restrictions.
“It’s very simple to say, let’s shut down Northern Ireland,” she said.
This has ramifications, and as Prime Minister I have to take all of that into consideration as well.
“I have always tried to be proportionate and balanced in everything I did during this crisis, and I will continue to do so.”
On Monday evening, Deputy Prime Minister Sean Fein, Michelle O’Neill, tweeted: “We are facing a very dangerous situation.”
“There is no time to give up on agreeing to a travel ban from Britain. Belfast and Dublin must work together to keep everyone on this island safe.”
Her party boss Mary Lou MacDonald tweeted a similar message.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the scientific advisor to the UK government, said earlier that there is now a “reinforced” view that the changing strain is spreading more quickly.
Fears of the new alternative effectively led to about 40 countries Travel with the UK cut It also tightened travel rules within Britain.
Health officials at Greater Manchester and the West Midlands He went so far as to urge anyone arriving from areas of England with the most severe restrictions – and travelers from Wales – to “assume” they have the new boom and self-isolate for 10 days.
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